July 2016 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from July 1 to July 31 only). Please see below for more details.
D. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE MEXICO EMPLOYMENT-BASED FOURTH (E4) AND CERTAIN RELIGIOUS WORKERS (SR) PREFERENCE CATEGORIES
As readers were advised in the May Visa Bulletin number 92, there has been extremely high demand in the E4 and SR categories, primarily for Juvenile Court Dependent cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, this has now required the implementation of E4 and SR Application Final Action Dates for Mexico, which has reached its per-country limit. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2016 annual limits.
E. VISA AVAILABILITY FOR THOSE COUNTRIES WHICH ARE, OR WILL BE, SUBJECT TO A FINAL ACTION DATE IN THE EMPLOYMENT-BASED FOURTH (E4) AND CERTAIN RELIGIOUS WORKERS (SR) PREFERENCE CATEGORIES
INA Section 202 sets an annual per-country limitation for preference immigrants of 7 percent of the worldwide level, to avoid monopolization of the annual limit by applicants from only a few countries.
INA Section 202(a)(5)(A) provides that if total demand will be insufficient to use all available numbers in an Employment preference during a calendar quarter, then the otherwise unused numbers may be made available in that preference without regard to the per-country limits. This provision helps to assure that all available Employment preference numbers may be used. Through late winter, this provision allowed countries with demand in excess of their normal per-country limit to utilize numbers that would have otherwise gone unused. Those countries were El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
By April, the level of worldwide Employment Fourth preference demand had increased to the point where there was sufficient demand to fully utilize the FY-2016 worldwide preference limit. It therefore became necessary to impose a final action date on those countries which had already reached their per-country limit, followed by those which would reach their limit in the coming months.
Readers should be aware that the establishment of the Employment Fourth preference Final Action date of January 1, 2010 does not mean that applicants are now subject to a wait in excess of six years. That Final Action Date is intended only to stop any further use of numbers by applicants from those countries under the FY-2016 annual limit, not to indicate how long it will be before applicants will be eligible for final action.
What are the Employment Fourth Final Action Dates likely to be for October when the FY-2017 annual limits take effect?
Mexico: The Employment Fourth Preference category will become CURRENT for October.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: A determination regarding the final action date(s) which may be required for these countries cannot be made at this time. Demand versus availability of numbers for these countries will be continuously monitored throughout the coming months, and official determination will be made in early September. Based on current indications which are very much subject to change, it is anticipated that the Final Action Date(s) for these three countries will be a date in 2015.
F. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS
FAMILY-sponsored categories (August and September)
F1: Up to two months
F2A: One or two weeks
F2B: Four to six weeks
F3: Up to two weeks
F4: Up to one month
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (August and September)
Employment First: Current for most.
China and India: A date will be established no later than September. Will return to “Current” status for October.
Worldwide: Date likely to be imposed by September. Will return to “Current” status for October.
China: No forward movement.
India: One week beyond India EB-3.
Worldwide: Up to one month.
China: No forward movement.
India: Indications are that there will be “otherwise” unused numbers available under the Worldwide limit. This should allow the September date to reach early 2005.
Mexico: Worldwide date for the foreseeable future.
Philippines: Likely to reach late 2009, possibly early 2010.
Employment Fourth: Current for most.
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will be subject to the January 1, 2010 Final Action Date through September. That date will be applied to India in August.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are expected to have a 2015 Final Action Date(s) for October.
India and Mexico: Will return to “Current” status for October.
Employment Fifth: Current for all but China.
China: Best case scenario is March 1st by September. Slow forward movement for October and beyond.
The above projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should never assume that recent trends in Final Action Date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that "corrective" action will not be required at some point during the year in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. The determination of the actual monthly Final Action Dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.
G. DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY 2017 (DV-2017) RESULTS
The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2017 diversity lottery. The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and makes available *50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Approximately 83,910 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the first *50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2017 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 until September 30, 2017).
Applicants registered for the DV-2017 program were selected at random from 12,437,190 qualified entries (19,344,586 with derivatives) received during the application period that ran from noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, October 1, 2015, until noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. The visas have been apportioned among six geographic regions with a maximum of seven percent available to persons born in any single country. During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent, or show two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years. Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly. Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete the information requested.
Registrants living legally in the United States who wish to apply for adjustment of their status must contact the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for information on the requirements and procedures. Once the total *50,000 visa numbers have been used, the program for fiscal year 2017 will end. Selected applicants who do not receive visas by September 30, 2017 will derive no further benefit from their DV-2017 registration. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2017 principal applicants are only entitled to derivative diversity visa status until September 30, 2017.
Dates for the DV-2018 program registration period will be widely publicized in the coming months. Those interested in entering the DV-2018 program should check the Department of State’s Visa web page in the coming months.
*The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulated that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas be made available for use under the NACARA program. The reduction of the limit of available visas to 50,000 began with DV-2000.
The following is the statistical breakdown by foreign-state chargeability of those registered for the DV-2017 program:
||GAMBIA, THE 46
||SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 0
|BURKINA FASO 217
||SIERRA LEONE 2,065
|CABO VERDE 7
||SOUTH AFRICA 427
|CENTRAL AFRICAN REP. 9
||SOUTH SUDAN 17
|CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE 3,835
|COTE D’IVOIRE 891
|EQUATORIAL GUINEA 3
||SAUDI ARABIA 253
||NORTH KOREA 0
||SRI LANKA 375
|HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMIN. REGION 37
||UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 97
||SAN MARINO 0
|BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 119
|CZECH REPUBLIC 53
| French Polynesia 1
| New Calendonia 1
|| Aruba 2
||VATICAN CITY 0
|| Curacao 1
|| Sint Maarten 4
||NORTHERN IRELAND 13
|BAHAMAS, THE 10
||SOLOMON ISLANDS 0
| Cocos Islands 3
||NEW ZEALAND 213
|| Cook Islands 8
|MARSHALL ISLANDS 0
||PAPUA NEW GUINEA 6
|MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF 2
|SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
|ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 11
||SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS 0
||SAINT LUCIA 9
||SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES 4
||TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 34
|COSTA RICA 18
Natives of the following countries were not eligible to participate in DV-2017: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born, excluding Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R., and Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.